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Tags: college | gaza | student

Perron: Biden's Silence on Campus Protests Could Be Costly

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U.S. President Joe Biden makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Washington, on May 11, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images) 

By    |   Wednesday, 15 May 2024 01:20 PM EDT

OPINION 

Just as President Joe Biden seemed to have improved a bit his position in the presidential race, student protests across the country started to dominate the news.

As I write in my new book "Beat the Incumbent," incumbent presidents, governor, and mayors are almost automatically associated by voters with the status quo.

If things go well, voters vote for the incumbent. If voters are unhappy with the state of things, however, the challenger has a chance.

An overwhelming majority of voters in every poll say that the country goes into the wrong direction. In that sense, the campus protests just add to a general discontent about the status quo, and in particular, give voters a sense that the country is in chaos and that there is a lack of control.

In short, the protests are bad news for Joe Biden.

They are probably not the main issue voters care about.

Most presidential elections are dominated by pocketbook issues.

Immigration is however a close second top concern for voters in many polls and I think that voters who are worried about immigration will also be bothered by the student protests.

If Biden doesn’t want to completely lose these voters, he needs to speak out more forcefully against the protests.

That would hurt him with young and Arab American voters, however. Both are key components of his natural base as a Democrat. With respect to the electoral map, the issue could also hurt Biden in crucial swing states such as Michigan for example.

Biden won the state by 2.8 percentage points and it’s a must win for the Democrat.

There is clearly not much room for error. The primary election was a warning sign for Joe Biden as 13% chose uncommitted over the incumbent president in a protest to force Biden into calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

As I also write in the book, the main advantage of a challenger is that he is free to criticize the incumbent for what is going wrong.

He doesn’t need to have all the solutions, but foremost needs to tie the incumbent to the status quo. Donald Trump is doing a very good job in that respect, not withholding punches.

In fact, I think that to smell and exploit weakness of his competitor is one of Donald Trump’s major skills, both as a businessman and a politician.

A ceasefire would of course help calm the situation. But then again, the question is how durable that would be.

The issue might be back in the news at a later stage of the campaign. I think that Biden should forcefully condemn violent protests and remind his base that siding with Hamas is certainly something that nobody wants.

That said, he should of course continue his diplomatic work behind the scenes, but try to distance himself from the issue of the protests in public.

He should say that unlike his opponent, he does not want to politicize the issue, nor use incendiary language, but supports those who deal with it on the ground, namely local government, and police.

Then, he should pivot to a more winning issue.

Louis Perron, PhD, is a political consultant who has orchestrated winning election campaigns around the globe. He is the author of the new book "Beat the Incumbent: Proven Strategies and Tactics to Win Elections."

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
Incumbent presidents, governor, and mayors are almost automatically associated by voters with the status quo. If things go well, voters vote for the incumbent. If voters are unhappy with the state of things, however, the challenger has a chance.
college, gaza, student
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2024-20-15
Wednesday, 15 May 2024 01:20 PM
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